Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Queen of Cinders, Book Two Complete

Though overdue, I'm happy to announce that the second book in my current work-in-progress, Queen of Cinders, was finished in mid November, and I immediately launched into writing the third and final volume.  My plan is to finish the entire trilogy, and then do editing runs on all three books at once.

So, how did writing this second book (Widow) compare to writing the first (named, for those not in the know, Waif)?  This is a tough question.  Waif was written so quickly, and went so smoothly, that writing Widow came as something of a shock.  Repeatedly interrupted for painting commissions, it took a year an a half to write, as compared to the first book's twenty-seven days.  Even being longer, this book wasn't that much longer.

Also, I know that there are continuity errors written into it that I'll have to tackle when I do an editing run.  Having gaps of months between writing blocks made keeping certain things straight very difficult.  For example, I wrote the same dialogue twice, from different points of view.  Worse still, the characters took opposite sides of the argument in each of these two scenes.  Taken together, the exchanges make no sense.  Also, I'm not certain how well developed certain characters are, given their secondary but pivotal nature.  This is a common problem with first drafts, and rereading often makes this sort of balance issue easier to spot.  But for now, I'm just going to have to live with the uncertainty of it, and plow ahead writing book three.

Also, Widow jumped the tracks about half way through, flying free of my outline for it as the plots matured.  Strangely, this wasn't the reason for the continuity errors.  The story just outgrew the conception I'd had of it before beginning the series.  The characters are deeper, their motivations more nuanced, and the sharply defined actions and motivations I thought would be needed for clarity turned out not to be needed at all.  This is one reason that planning too far out isn't really a good use of time, for me.  I'd have to strangle a lot of the growth of the characters in order to service my planning, and keep the story in the lines.

And we've all read books that have that particular flavor, haven't we?

So, Book Two is done, and I'm happy with it, including the very different denouement than I'd planned.

Onward, to Book Three!